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Author Topic: Walsall-Wolverhampton Petition Update  (Read 4036 times)
Lee
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« on: October 14, 2008, 03:10:31 pm »

Following on from http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=3552.msg27608#msg27608 :

Over 350 signatures clocked up, so thanks to all those who have signed so far (link below.)
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/walsallrail/

Thanks also to the people/groups who are publicising the petition :
http://www.walsall.gov.uk/

http://www.centro.org.uk/rail/railintro.asp

http://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/

http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/canber

http://www.networkwestmidlands.co.uk/train/train.html

http://railwayeye.blogspot.com/2008/10/in-space-no-one-can-hear-you-scream.html (also includes a plug for the Coffee Shop - thanks Fact Compiler)

Things arent looking great as to the prospects of reversing the decision, it has to be said (link below.)
http://www.expressandstar.com/2008/10/11/rail-link-to-be-axed-in-months/

We will keep plugging away though.
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Btline
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2008, 07:53:20 pm »

It must be one of the most scandalous closures since Beeching. It must also be ILLEGAL.

A well used, growing service, with potential (new stations etc.) is axed because the gov stops funding the rolling stock (i.e its needed elsewhere).

What about the Heart of Wales? Why are the gov keeping the stock on a 4 per day, underused, slow, non important line, but not Walsall?

It should be illegal to re-allocate rolling stock before closure procedures have been fully carried out (including dealing with campaigns).

Should the councils take the gov to court?
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eightf48544
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2008, 08:59:53 pm »

It must be one of the most scandalous closures since Beeching. It must also be ILLEGAL.

A well used, growing service, with potential (new stations etc.) is axed because the gov stops funding the rolling stock (i.e its needed elsewhere).

What about the Heart of Wales? Why are the gov keeping the stock on a 4 per day, underused, slow, non important line, but not Walsall?

It should be illegal to re-allocate rolling stock before closure procedures have been fully carried out (including dealing with campaigns).

Should the councils take the gov to court?

It's also one of the silliest as most of the line will remain open as it acts as diversionary/freight route when the Stour Valley is closed. Many Wexham And Shropshire are also routed this way.

Unless they are closing Pleck Junction to Darlaston Junction which would also be stupid, as it forms link from the Midland line via Sutton Park to Wolverhampton and the North avoiding New Street. I've been on a railtour from Shrewsbury back to Wellingborough this way.

There has also been talk of reopening Walsall to Angelsea Sidings which is why the bridge ove the M6 toll is double track.

I know Bescot to Wolverhampton Crane Street Junction and Bushbury Junction are electrified, as is Bescot to Walsall. The latter was an add on when it was realised the New Street - Walsall service was diesel and ran most of the way under the wire.

Is Pleck Junction and Darlaston Junction electrified?  If not a few hundred yards of wire means it could be an electric service New Street Walsall reverse Wolverhampton. If it is electrified I thought we were realtively flush with AC Emus.

Also  Walsall - Rugely is another cheap in fill wiring job to help eliminate diesel working around Birmingham and the WCML. Seeing  a 153, from the canal, on  a Stafford to Birminham via Cannock, or to Coventry via Bedworth on the 4 track section makes me wonder just how stupid D(a)fT really are.   
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Lee
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2008, 09:11:18 pm »

It must be one of the most scandalous closures since Beeching. It must also be ILLEGAL.

A well used, growing service, with potential (new stations etc.) is axed because the gov stops funding the rolling stock (i.e its needed elsewhere).

What about the Heart of Wales? Why are the gov keeping the stock on a 4 per day, underused, slow, non important line, but not Walsall?

It should be illegal to re-allocate rolling stock before closure procedures have been fully carried out (including dealing with campaigns).

Should the councils take the gov to court?

With due apologies to eightf48544 who has covered some of these points as I was writing  Grin :

The problem the councils would have is that the line will be kept open for use to freight trains, Wrexham and Shropshire passenger services and will also be used as a diversionary route when the West Coast line is closed for engineering works. No stations will close either, although the new station proposed at Willenhall Bilston Street is likely to be stillborn.

On the Heart Of Wales line, nobody has succeeded in closing it because of where it is situated (indeed, closure was proposed before Beeching.) Hence the famous "it runs through six marginal constituencies" quote.

A lot of people would consider the Heart Of Wales line as the definition of a rural lifeline rail service (link below.)
http://www.heart-of-wales.co.uk/howlframe.htm
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John R
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2008, 09:12:17 pm »

Looking at Quail, the whole line is indeed electrified, but not the lines used from Pleck to Walsall, and only one platform is wired at Walsall, so it would not be possible to run the service with electric stock. But half a mile of electrification and you could use one of the Class 321s that LM are alleged to be looking to keep. (Or more realistically use the 4 car 321 on an overloaded 323 service and use a 323 on the route.)

But the chances of that are nil or lower. Although I would have thought that with employment falling in the City of London, those operators looking at the 321s may be wondering whether they need them all for the next year or two.  
 
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eightf48544
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2008, 08:00:54 am »

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that D(a)fT rail policy is totally stupid.

How much would a bit of extra wire in Walsall station and Pleck to Darlaston Junction cost . If you didn't have to buy a new 172 for the service I would suggest it could pay for itself in under 5 years. Provided Network rail is not ripped off by the contractors.

I expect Lee will post elsewhere the latest warning of higher fares and more crowded trains because of shortages of stock. An aside on the Today programme.
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John R
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2008, 08:20:17 am »

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that D(a)fT rail policy is totally stupid.


I think most of us came to that conclusion some time ago. Otherwise the Coffee Shop may not have even existed.
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Lee
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2008, 09:33:01 am »

Over 350 signatures clocked up, so thanks to all those who have signed so far (link below.)
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/walsallrail/

The petition has now closed with 643 signatures (plus any who signed up before the deadline but have not yet validated their signatures) so thanks again.

Calls are growing for the Government to intervene (link below.)
http://www.birminghampost.net/news/west-midlands-transport-news/2008/10/23/time-running-out-to-save-walsall-to-wolverhampton-rail-link-65233-22100628/
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2008, 03:18:30 pm »

How can LM say it is not viable?

It is a single 153 (i.e. relatively cheap to run).

It runs hourly! That is what I call a viable service.

Look at the Heart of Wales, TranWilts etc. If they are worth running (which they are), then the Walsall line is definitely viable. It is even more frequent than the Cotwsold line! It definately deserves subsidy.

It is an absolute scandal, and I still think the gov should be taken to court if they refuse to stamp up the cash. First they axe the 5Ws tram line proposal, then they axe the rail link. next I expect they will put tolls on the main roads between the two areas!

And the gov/ LM have not followed closure procedures.
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John R
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2008, 03:42:12 pm »

I believe the service was introduced under the "Speller Amendment" which allowed new services to start without needing to go through a closure process if they were subsequently withdrawn. So the proper procedures are not needed.
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Btline
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2008, 08:31:12 pm »

I believe the service was introduced under the "Speller Amendment" which allowed new services to start without needing to go through a closure process if they were subsequently withdrawn. So the proper procedures are not needed.
Angry

I am really angry about this. This is scandalous. I'm sorry, I am livid that they are going to get away with it!
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John R
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2008, 10:25:11 pm »

I'm annoyed to that what could be such a useful service is being withdrawn. But the principle of the Speller Amendment was sound. If it had not been introduced many stations and new services launched since the mid 80s would not have happened, for fear of not being able to reverse them if the services were unsuccesful. Most services stayed and thrived. A rare example of one that failed and closed was Corby, though hopefully it will be second time lucky, when it eventually starts.
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Lee
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2008, 10:44:08 pm »

If I remember rightly, Bicester Town and Newbury Racecourse are among examples of stations that benefited.
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John R
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2008, 11:20:33 pm »

and across the border, the reintroduction of services on the Aberdare branch, City Line, and Maesteg branch would have been much less likely to have happened.
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Lee
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2008, 03:23:53 pm »

Here is the response from the Government :

Quote from: No 10
The rail service between Walsall and Wolverhampton operates at hourly intervals taking 15 minutes for the 7 mile journey. It is a shuttle service requiring one single car train to operate it.

In developing the specification for the West Midlands franchise, the Department for Transport (DfT) identified that the Walsall - Wolverhampton service offered poor value for money. In the consultation document published in July 2006, it proposed that the service would not be included in the base franchise specification but it invited Centro to consider funding its retention as an increment. At this time the service was proposed to be withdrawn in December 2007, but DfT later extended this to December 2008 to give Centro more time to consider.

Although the reliability of the service has improved, according to figures produced by Centro it still carries an average of fewer than ten passengers per journey and therefore still offers poor value for money. A decision on whether to continue to fund the service rests with Centro but this is now dependent on whether the train operator can secure the necessary rolling stock.
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